Council hits the gas on lowering speed limits

Renton councilmembers suggested a city-wide 20 mph limit

Renton City Council wants to reduce the residential street speed limit throughout the city to 20 mph.

Originally, city staff brought council a proposal to change just one neighborhood’s speed, the La Crosse Neighborhood. But at the Monday, May 20 transportation committee meeting, councilmembers Don Persson, Ruth Pérez and Randy Corman all expressed interest in just changing the speed limits to 20 for the whole city.

“This is a significant change,” Corman told council at the council meeting that night.

Persson said that he propose defaulting to 20 mph, since it took two years just to get La Crosse neighborhood changes ready.He also pointed out police would always have discretion on whether to give warnings or tickets to those violating the new speed.

Public Works Administrator Gregg Zimmerman told council they would be able to rewrite the current law through council ordinance. All streets currently listed at speed limits other than 25 mph would remain the same.

According to data in Seattle’s Vision Zero Plan, nine out of 10 pedestrians survive when hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph. In comparison, five out of 10 pedestrians survive when hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph.

City staff presented preliminary information in February 2018 about the 20 mph speed limits, citing Portland, Seattle and New York City as early participants. New York ended up returning to 25 mph. Boston is now also considering reducing speed to 20 mph.

The state of Washington enacted legislation in 2013 to allow cities and towns to establish a maximum speed of 20 mph on non-arterial roads. Renton staff told council it would also make it easier for them to change the city speed limit rather than go by neighborhood requests.

The process changing to 20 mph will take time and money, Transportation Planning and Programming Manager Vangie Garcia told councilmembers at the meeting. It will cost $50 to replace each 25 mph sign to 20 mph, as well as staff time of two employees to do that task.

Council approved the transportation committee report asking that city staff prepare an ordinance and bring it back to council.

More in News

File photo
$30 car tab proposal returns to ballot in November

Tim Eyman-led initiative would restrict car tabs and transportation benefit districts in Washington.

File photo
King County alcohol production ordinance could be approved by year’s end

Update to county code has been more than a year in the making.

Bring Fido and a can of food to support local animal shelters

“You Lucky Dog!” is more than an expression, it’s an event in… Continue reading

Renton Schools Foundation to host gala

To celebrate 10 years and welcome a new executive director, the Renton… Continue reading

Carol Ann Witschi
Witschi’s seat to stay vacant till election

Renton City Council has decided to leave councilmember Carol Ann Witschi’s seat… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Faith-Maria, a third grader at St. Anthony Elementary School in Renton, asked Make-a-Wish to share her wish with her school, which resulted in two new smart boards. Faith-Maria with her family at the unveiling, Sept. 12.
A selfless wish for Renton schools

Faith-Maria Nguyen uses Make-A-Wish to provide school a smart board

Photo by Haley Ausbun. RESP union members attended the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting to make their story heard as they continue to negotiate for a new contract with the district.
Union leader: ‘Give us what we deserve’

Update: Paraprofessionals and staff have reached a tentative agreement with the Renton School District

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Photo left to right: David Rodriguez, Tony Ventrella, Rachel Chronister, Marla Veliz, Reagan Dunn, and Gavin Hunt at the Sept. 10 ribbon cutting for the New Horizon School van, gifted by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn through the retired van program.
County van to increase New Horizon’s inclusivity

A vehicle gifted to a school for students with learning disabilities will support outreach

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Tiffany Park Elementary School teachers and parents hold up signs before the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting, over the loss of a fourth grade classroom that reorganized the fourth and fifth graders at the school.
Teacher changes shake up parents’ confidence in Renton schools

A quick staffing change and classroom switch has parents questioning Renton School District

Most Read